Meeting of the Truman State University Chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP)
2014 December 16, 4:30-5:45 PM, at the DuKum Inn
Present: Marc Becker, Sylvia Macauley, Dan Mandell, Marc Rice (presiding), David Robinson (secretary)
Next meeting: Tuesday, January 20, 4:30 PM at DuKum Inn
The meeting was devoted to more planning for our Town Hall on March 19. We decided to have Amy Blouin’s presentation on campus, ca. 4:30, and then retreat to Dukum-upstairs for a social hour with light dinner, followed by a panel discussion. We discussed options with Dukum manager, Rob Champaign, and toured the venue, which seemed quite good for our purposes. Marc Rice (chapter president) will negotiate terms/menu with Dukum. We also collected some chapter dues ($10 per semester), and we will appeal to all current members and others with interest to pay these dues.
We discuss inviting local and regional leaders to join our panel discussion, including Kirksville mayor Glen Moritz, public-health expert Rebecca McClanahan, State Representative Nate Walker, and possibly others. Marc Rice is contacting and inviting those who are responsive. We had some discussion of “ground rules” for our panel, to assure that people in attendance would be able to join in the evening discussion.
Sabbaticals were formerly announced just a day before this chapter meeting. It turns out that 10 (apparently out of 14) applications were successful. We had a broad discussion of Truman’s sabbatical program, concluding that it is obviously very weak. For example: assuming Truman has at least 250 tenure-track faculty, and assuming that about 200 of them are eligible for sabbatical, having not had one in the past eight years (for some reason, our sabbaticals are every eight years instead of seven), then about 29 faculty should have sabbatical in any given year. Our program cannot come anywhere close to that number, which is itself fairly conservative.
The rumor mill and information than came down to chairs and candidates indicated that the major reason more sabbaticals were not funded is because funding simply ran out at 10 sabbaticals. Moreover, some individuals, including some chairs and applicants for sabbatical, were contacted during the evaluation process and told that they could not receive the sabbatical unless their department would agree to ask for no replacement faculty. Such conversations, during the application/evaluation process, seem to detract from any fair evaluation according to the purported criteria for the application.
Obviously Truman’s funding for sabbaticals is incongruous with any claim that we have a sabbatical program that is worthy of a liberal-arts institution that supports the teacher-scholar model. Moreover, the sabbatical application process, especially in this past year, was plagued by problems and unprofessional ‘leaks’ that detracted from what should be one of the most professional of academic processes: the awarding of sabbatical leave. We want to explore both aspects of the problem with sabbaticals at Truman; AAUP should seek a meeting with university administration.